ISLAMABAD - The Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) management paid billions of rupees in duplicate payments to BISP beneficiaries through Pakistan Post and commercial banks, it has been revealed.

The Auditor General of Pakistan’s report on the audit of BISP has revealed an amount of Rs6,867.392 million to Pakistan Post and commercial banks for onward disbursement to BISP beneficiaries through Asian Development Bank (ADB) account No 00158 during 2011-12.

Audit observed that this amount was disbursed to 3,622,376 beneficiaries who were already paid for the same period of instalments from GOP funds as per soft data provided for GOP expenditures during compliance with Authority Audit.

The management however claimed in its reply that the BISP had a very comprehensive Payment MIS (management information system) and before an instalment was issued, MIS Wing checked each and every beneficiary’s status for duplicate payment.

BISP launched Benazir Debit Card (BDC) in February 2012 and the facility was gradually extended to almost all parts of country, the management explained. During the transitional period, quarterly payments were issued through Pakistan Post to only those beneficiaries who were yet to receive their BDCs. For those who had already received the BDC, the next instalment was issued at the end of next quarter. MIS was reconciled with partnering bank as well and no duplicate payment was generated, it said.

But this reply was not accepted as the details of reconciliation of payments to beneficiaries provided to Audit was the same as the soft data of beneficiaries provided earlier, which indicates that duplicate payments were made. It is important to mention that the management was maintaining separate Assignment Accounts for ADB loan and GOP expenditure from where separate cheques were issued for payments.

During the verification of record on 7-3-2013, the management accepted that the soft data provided during field audit was the same data provided earlier during the audit of GOP expenditure. The DAC directed that management to work out the details of the duplicate payments as per MIS of BISP within a week and provide the result to BISP secretary and to the Audit.

On 30-5-2013, the BISP management provided soft data of beneficiaries but did not highlight the 683,235 ineligible beneficiaries, however, the data included an amount of Rs974.585 million pertaining to 324,186 beneficiaries which were earlier shown as expenditure from GOP funds, indicating that duplicate data/payment was made. Audit recommended that an inquiry be held and responsibility be fixed for making duplicate payments.